Paul Ricard day 1: Williams quickest

Three Formula 1 teams took to the asphalt at the Paul Ricard circuit today for the first day (of four) of testing ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix. Marc Gene went quickest in the Williams, on a 1m13.650s, with Heinz-Harald Frentzen trailing him by 0.7s in the Sauber. Toyota's Cristiano da Matta ran third quickest with Ricardo Zonta running only in the afternoon and finishing fourth

Paul Ricard day 1: Williams quickest

The teams agreed to use the long straights and sharp hairpins of track solution 12B at the facility, which has improved its tyre barrier layout since the drivers were critical of safety the last time they were there.

Much of the time was taken up with engine testing, in preparation for the long, flat-out sections at the A1-Ring. Tyre testing was also on the list along with set-up work. Gene's car was also seen receiving attention to the differential.

Sauber attacked its aero deficiencies, trying out three different floors on Frentzen's car in the morning, moving on to do soft compound tyre testing in the afternoon. The tyres were of the kind used at Monaco and didn't last long in the blustery 30 degree Celsius conditions.

McLaren, Renault, Jaguar and BAR are expected to be at the French circuit tomorrow, with DC, Alex Wurz, Jarno Trulli, Alan McNish, Mark Webber and Anthony Davidson in attendance.


M Gene, Williams, M, 1m13.650s, 104
H-H Frentzen, Sauber, B, 1m14.362s, 99
C da Matta, Toyota, B, 1m15.915s, 63
R Zonta, Toyota, B, 1m16.445s, 43

B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin

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Gene Quickest at Paul Ricard - Day One

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